Momo Dumplings Recipe

Dumplings at 30,000 feet are a treat, and worth the effort - filling, nutritious, plane-friendly finger food. This time I upped my game and made the dumpling wrappers from scratch, filled them with a ginger and chile-spiked ricotta, spinach, and cabbage filling before twisting and folding them into momo-shaped poufs.

Momo Dumplings

I'm in France right now, for a relatively quick trip. Or, another way to think of it, a quick trip flanked by two long flights. I took it as an opportunity to up my dumpling game, making and freezing an assortment of them in the weeks leading up to my trip. It made it easy to leave some for Wayne to enjoy while I was gone, and to pack a box, bento-style, for my flight. Dumplings at 30,000 feet are a treat, and worth the effort - filling, nutritious, plane-friendly finger food. Here's the wildcard. This time I made my own dumpling wrappers. It's only about half as crazy as it sounds. In reality, making your own wrappers is very similar to making fresh pasta (not difficult), and equally satisfying. So, I thought I'd share the basic jist of what I did to make momos - or what I think of as Himalayan dumplings. Little poufs are stuffed with a ricotta cheese base mixed with chopped cabbage, spinach, ginger, chiles, cumin, scallions, and the like.

Andrea Nguyen is the angel that sits on my shoulder anytime I attempt dumplings. I keep her book on the counter and her voice in my head. We made dumplings with homemade wrappers together years ago, and I was by no means a natural. She assured me, even ugly dumplings are usually fine once cooked. And she's right! ;) I used Andrea's framework for the filling, but switched up the ratios and technique a bit, based on what I had around the kitchen.

A few suggestions if you're a dumpling beginner: Start by using pre-made wrappers before graduating to homemade, allowing you to focus on folding technique. Start with simple folds - like half moons or big hugs before graduating to more complex shapes like the momo. This was my first attempt momo-folding. Not perfect, but delicious!

As far as fillings are concerned, it can be helpful to make them a day or two ahead of time. Once you've nailed your filling, and are confident in your folding, then consider making the jump to homemade wrappers. It's absolutely worth the effort, and you'll likely swear off pre-made. The last thing I'll mention about making your own wrappers is that it enables you to boost the wrappers with color, flavor, and ingredients - for ex: turmeric, or other spices. Or juices - beet, spinach, ginger, etc.

I use Andrea's dumpling book, but here are a number of other resources she has provided for those with dumpling aspirations:
- Favorite Asian Dumplings from Scratch (Craftsy class - online)
- Asian Dumpling: Learning to Prepare Dumplings at Home (San Francisco Cooking School - in person)
- Andrea's Basic Dumpling Dough (Chow)

Momo DumplingsMomo DumplingsMomo DumplingsMomo Dumplings

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Momo Dumplings

1 1/2 cups finely chopped cabbage
1 1/2 cups finely chopped spinach
2 tablespoons ghee or unsalted butter
3/4 cup minced onion
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 small medium-hot red pepper
1 teaspoon chile flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 cups ricotta
1/3 cup chopped scallions
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, or to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons organic corn starch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water

round dumpling wrappers (either pre-made, or homemade)

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Salt the water a bit, add the cabbage, cook for about 30 seconds, add the spinach and cook for another 10 seconds or so - just long enough for everything to wilt. Drain, rinse with cold water, and press out any extra moisture with a clean towel - really go for it.

Heat the ghee (or butter) in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion and cook until soft and translucent - a couple of minutes. Stir in the garlic, ginger, red pepper, and red chile flakes. Cook for another minute or so, then stir in the cumin. Add the cabbage mixture and cook until heated through. Stir in the cheese, scallions, and cilantro. Stir well, then sprinkle in the salt. Give your cornstarch mixture a quick stir, drizzle it across the pan, and stir well, until everything comes together. Set aside to cool before proceeding to use in dumplings.

If you're ready to make dumplings, either follow the instructions on the wrapper package, or fold them and seal them into your desired shape. You can use a basic shape like half moon fold, or attempt a more elaborate fold (like the momo) before steaming in a lined steamer for 7-10 minutes.

Makes 2-3 cups of dumpling filling.

Prep time: 45 minutes - Cook time: 8 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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I was super excited to see a dumpling recipe on your blog and then was disappointed when I discovered that they contain ricotta. I know a lot of people love the stuff but I am not a fan. I'm hoping for another dumpling recipe without the ricotta sometime in the future. :)

HS: Hi Giselle, give this potsticker recipe a try.


Truly a work of art with those little momos, so pretty, and I bet they are delicious too. Perfect for sharing :D x

Jules @ WolfItDown

Heidi, can you give some tips on how you freeze these? I'm guessing that you cook them and then let them cool to room temperature. Do you wrap layer them with parchment paper to prevent them from sticking together? And do you just let them defrost on a counter or can you reheat/re-steam them if you want them warm after you take them out of the freezer?

HS: Hi Jenn, I freeze them on a plate or baking sheet for a few hours, then transfer them to a freezer bag. This way they don't stick, or freeze, together. I try to let them thaw just a bit before steaming or pan-frying, but they're usually just fine straight out of the freezer.


Homemade dumpling wrappers?? Extremely impressive -- and brave. These little beauties are truly inspiring!

Amy @ Parsley In My Teeth

This recipe sounds so yummy and looks beautiful too.


I've never tried to make dumplings, but now I must. Yum! (have a look at the main image for your sidebar)x

HS: Thanks - forgot my thumbnail when prepping for the trip ;)

Marissa | Pinch and Swirl

oh my, I have been wanting to make dumplings like these and you make it look so nice -yours turned out so nicely! super pretty and a lovely filling. pinning this to make later.

Nazima, franglais kitchen

although momos are actually from Tibet, Nepal claims them as one of their national dishes. i travel to Nepal for work frequently and i'm a momo freak! they are one of my favorite foods on earth. your recipe looks delicious! however, you neglected to include a recipe for the tomato based sauce that is traditionally served with them, but i suppose any good tomato sauce would work. Thanks!


My god, these look amazing! I am so in the mood for dumpling now.


I have to pin these to save the recipe since I doubt I'll make them anytime soon. We live in Bangkok, and have so many great options for dumplings, even right from street vendors in some cases. But once we get back to the States I KNOW I'm gonna want to make my own and these will fit the bill perfectly. And I'll have to pick up a copy of the Andrea Nguyen cookbook. Thanks!

Steve @coolcathotfood

This looks really delicious! and the pictures are amazing


These look amazing! what beautiful photo's you take, the food looks lip licking good :)


Wow, these look very impressive! Great folds! I've made my own potstickers, including the pastry, from Fuchsia Dunlop's Every Grain Of Rice (fantastic book, btw). It was great fun, and very tasty. But have not tried the more complicated folds. I will though.


Love the ingredients...the steamer, too!


I love dumplings, and these look delicious! What a great idea for plane food, I bet everyone was envious. xTracy

Tracy Wood

Great looking momo. I tried once with a friend and I'm miserable at the shape so she ended up folding all. However, I agree that even the worse looking momos are delicious. I'm sure they are great 30,000 ft above ground as well.


These will make some great lunchbox treats...thank you! I hope I can pull it off.


Those are gorgeous! I'll have to make them one weekend when I'm feeling ambitious. :)


im from Nepal and mo:mos are extremely popular amongst Nepali is so nice to see mo:mo in your site. kudos for making your own wrapper :) I have made different versions of momo with chili sauce and also soup dumpling aka jhol momo. If you are ever interested to try different style besides regular steaming - here are the links vegetable chili momo : and jhol momo

Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and Health

Do you think you could leave the ricotta out, maybe add some egg to bind the ingredients, for a dairy free dumpling? or replace the ricotta with tofu?


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